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Rules of court are not to be prostituted -Judge.

An Accra High Commercial judge has sent a stern warning to lawyers trying to abuse court procedures, especially in the trial of the former management members of the National Communications Authority (NCA), with needless filing of applications, that the rules of court are not supposed be prostituted.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, made the statement as he was not pleased with defence counsel for the first accused person, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, former Board Chairman of the NCA, attempting to unduly delay the trial.

The defence counsel for the then NCA Board Chairman, Thaddeus Sory, filed an application for stay of proceedings before the court, pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal, but Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, unable to entertain the application, threw it out, describing it as bogus.

Meanwhile, Mr Sory put up a strong case that serious issues of law that had been raised before the Court of Appeal, which its conclusion, if it goes in their favour, might affect the case at the High Court, hence the court should stay proceedings.

The judge, on the other hand, made it clear to Mr Sory and his client that an earlier ruling on submission of no case and on mini-trial is applied to their application.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour stated categorically to Mr Sory that the five accused persons were not satisfied with his ruling on the submission of no case, therefore, proceeded to the Court of Appeal 'hoping against hope that the Court of Appeal would stay my proceedings. They were mistaken, the Court of Appeal dismissed their application and ordered them to come before me and open their defence.'

He said it was surprising that instead of the first accused person to open his defence, he was rather filing frivolous applications to unduly delay the case.

The Presiding Judge further made it clear to the defence counsel that if the matter was a civil case, he would have awarded cost against them, while ordering them to open their defence.

However, Mr Sory pleaded with the court to give him and his client some days to prepare, after determining their application, which the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs Yvonne Attakorah-Obuobisa, greatly opposed.

According to the DPP, to the best of her knowledge there was no such right, so once this case has been disposed off, the accused person should open his defence, while the Court of Appeal decides on the case of stay of proceedings.

Nevertheless, the judge modestly granted defence counsel and the first accused person an advance of seven days to prepare and open their defence.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, hence, called on the second accused person, Matthew Tetteh Tevie, past Chief Executive Officer of the NCA, to open his defence, but his counsel, Godwin Tamakloe, pleaded with the court to give them a short adjournment date so that they can put their house in order.

The judge gave the second accused Thursday, July 4, to open his defence.

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Publication:Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra, Ghana)
Date:Jul 4, 2019
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